Anytime we do something that involves rankings or putting things into various categories, there’s typically some behind-the-scenes haggling that takes place before we reach a consensus.
Not so with this edition of the Hobey Tracker.
We can’t put a finger on why or how it happened, but this list came together in less than five minutes with an email and one reply. Rather than look deeper into the reasons, we’re just going to pencil in the birdie on our scorecard and move on to the next hole.
There’s a better than average chance you have suggestions for us, some of which may even relate to the Hobey Tracker. Hit us up at @inch or @INCH_Gladdy with your thoughts. Or send questions for the INCH Podcast, which will record Thursday, Feb. 1. We appreciate the honesty; you can’t pour sand into our wounds.
1. Henrik Borgstrom (Denver): Could the Pioneers have the first back-to-back Hobey winners since Maine’s Scott Pellerin and Paul Kariya won in 1992 and 1993? With 16-20—36 in 25 games, Borgstrom is poised to surpass the stellar offensive totals he posted as a freshman. And while he hasn’t had the highlight-reel goals that grabbed our attention last season, he’s scored in bunches. He opened the year by scoring 22 points in his first 11 games and had an eight-game scoring streak end at North Dakota last Saturday.
2. Adam Gaudette (Northeastern): When it comes down to close calls on the Hobey Tracker, INCH has always given the edge to the goal-scorers. So it is with this dynamic Northeastern top line and Adam Gaudette’s prolific stat line that includes 19 goals, 20 assists and a nation’s-best 39 overall points at the time of publication. That gives him a slight edge over teammate Dylan SIkura for now, but it’s a really close call. Both figure to be among the Hobey top-10 finalists in March. Will voters split some of the attention from the duo when Hobey ballots are cast?
3. Tanner Laczynski (Ohio State): As we said earlier this week, we don’t pay enough attention to Laczynski. The sophomore forward has been the definition of consistency for a very good Buckeyes team—after being shut out in OSU’s first four games, Laczynski has at least one point in 20 of the team’s last 22 games with scoring streaks of four, six, and 10 games. If you place a premium on even-strength scoring, Laczynski’s your man. He’s second in the nation in that category with 9-16—25.
C.J. Suess (Minnesota State): The leading scorer for the nation’s seventh-ranked team, Suess should be a lock to be one of the 10 Hobey finalists. The erstwhile C.J. Franklin changed his last name last summer as a tribute to his mom. Now he’s capping a terrific four-year career in Mankato by matching his single-season bests in goals and points, and is two assists shy of equaling his previous high in that category. Tying Suess’ offensive prowess to the Mavs’ success may be an oversimplification, but the numbers don’t lie. MSU Mankato is 18-2-0 when he scores a point and 1-5-0 when he doesn’t.
Ryan Donato (Harvard): Look, Ryan Donato is one of the very best players in college hockey and he’ll probably be in the top-10 finalists later this year. We considered him for the Big Board and would have ranked him there, but for one thing. Of course, it’s nothing to do with college hockey and more to do with an incredible opportunity. Donato will soon join the roster of the United States men’s hockey team at the Olympics which means he’ll miss at least a few weeks for the Harvard Crimson, where he has 20 goals and 29 points in 21 games. To win college hockey’s highest individual honor, you’ve got to be playing college hockey. Best of luck to Donato in PyeongChang and enjoy the incredible opportunity. While you’re there, tell old INCH favorite and Harvard man Noah Welch we said what’s up.
Sheldon Rempal (Clarkson): The revelation team of the first several months of the college hockey season was the Clarkson Golden Knights and most of the individual attention went to goaltender Jake Kielly and his five first-semester shutouts. We’ve got our eyes on Rempal, the leading scorer on the nation’s breakout team. The sophomore forward from Calgary ranks in the top-20 in the country in points and has 18 goals. He was a prolific scorer for the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL in his final year of junior when he played on a line with current Tech linemate Devin Brosseau, who has 25 points for the Golden Knights.